Best places to see fall colors in Arizona

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The days are getting shorter, the weather is cooling, and the leaves are starting to show their autumn colors. And those colors can be spectacular if you know where to look.

Roger Naylor is an Arizona author and travel writer. He told us where to go in the state to see the leaves changing and enjoy that cooler season.

Because of the different elevations throughout Arizona, the fall season can last from October to December.

However, to experience peak fall colors, November is the month to plan all your fall activities.

“The colors are kind of regulated by the clock. It isn’t impacted by rain or heat that much. It’s all about how the sunlight gets less, the leaves stop producing chlorophyll, and the green goes away,” Naylor said.

To experience some beautiful fall hues, now is the prime time to visit the Aspen Nature Loop and the Kachina Trail. They are located in the Snowbowl parking lot in Flagstaff.

“You can just drive up to Snowbowl. You’ll enjoy beautiful scenery along the way, and then you can take either the Aspen Nature Loop, which is about two and a half miles, or the Kachina Trail, which goes for about five miles,” Naylor said.

Another must-see attraction for experiencing fall in Arizona is Dead Horse Ranch State Park located in Cottonwood, Arizona. A good time to visit Dead Horse Ranch State Park is early November before the fall hues start to fade.

“The best fall color hike in the entire state I think is West Fork, but it is absolutely jam-packed on those three weekends when the colors are changing. If you can sneak up during the week, you’ll have an incredible time,” Naylor said.

If you don’t find time to catch the autumnal colors, head to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, located in Pinal County, Arizona. It is the largest botanical garden in Arizona, with 4.7 miles of gardens representing 11 regions of the world.

Roger Naylor, Arizona author and travel writer

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